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UFC Philadelphia prelims results & video: Rodriguez out-strikes Aguilar, Green TKOs Pearson

Check out the results and highlights from the UFC Philadelphia prelims, including Marina Rodriguez picking up a dominant decision over Jessica Aguilar.

The ESPN portion of the UFC Philadelphia prelims just concluded with Marina Rodriguez really letting her strikes go on Jessica Aguilar. Overcoming an early point deduction for a set of eye pokes, Rodriguez busted up her adversary with blows throughout the entire contest. Rodriguez has now won her official UFC debut and did so by putting on a striking clinic to remain undefeated and move to 11-0-1. Before that, Desmond Green made quick work of 26-UFC-fight veteran Ross Pearson, pulling off a first-round TKO courtesy of brutal ground strikes. Green got himself back into the win column and has now realized his first UFC finish.

Also on the card, Kevin Aguilar leaned on his striking and footwork to earn a unanimous decision over Enrique Barzola. This is Aguilar’s second UFC victory, extending his winning streak to nine-straight. The loss for Barzola broke up a four-fight winning streak. Kicking off the ESPN prelims, Kevin Holland and Gerald Meerschaert engaged in a grueling grapple-heavy split decision. The scrambles were back and forth throughout, with Holland walking away with the nod to enjoy back-to-back UFC victories.

Closing out the ESPN+ prelims, UFC newcomer Casey Kenney scored a controversial unanimous decision over the promotion’s #3 ranked flyweight Ray Borg. Several lifting slams were achieved by Borg in-between scrambles, but the judges saw the fight going the other way. Kenney made good on his UFC debut and is now riding a winning wave of five-straight. Borg has now lost back-to-back bouts, on top of his 2018 riddled with cancelations.

Maryna Moroz got off to a great start against UFC newcomer Sabina Mazo, out-grappling her adversary and busting her up with strikes. Mazo rallied in the final round, landing an assortment of kicks and knees, but it was too little too late and Maroz walked away with the decision win. Opening up the event, Alex Perez put on a dominant performance against Mark De La Rosa. Perez landed a ton of hammerfists across the first two rounds, and even did enough to take the final round as well on all three scorecards.

ESPN prelims:

Marina Rodriguez def. Jessica Aguilar by unanimous decision (29-26, 29-27 x2): Strawweight

An accidental eye poke to Aguilar halted the action as soon as the bout began. Upon the restart, Aguilar forced her foe against the cage, but got her nose busted open on her way in. Rodriguez gave up top position, and the second she rolled on top, she found herself fighting off a triangle attempt. Aguilar switched to the armbar and had it locked in, but Rodriguez defended well and was able to stall out the position. The moment the referee stood the fighters up, Rodriguez landed another poke to the eye, resulting in a point deduction. Rodriguez cracked her foe upon the restart, briefly dropping Aguilar before the bell.

Rodriguez seemed much more comfortable on her feet in the second round. She was flowing into her strikes in a much more relaxed way. Rodriguez began to turn up the volume, firing a good variety of strikes at a retreating. Aguilar got hurt by a kick to the body, and Rodriguez went in for the kill. Several piercing knees to the gut landed for Rodriguez up against the cage. The toughness of Aguilar was on full display as she was able to make it out of the round. Rodriguez continued to out-strike Aguilar in the third round. Aguilar struggled with the length of her opponent, and spent most of the round defending. The volume of Rodriguez was unwavering as she poured it on up until the final bell sounded.

Desmond Green def. Ross Pearson by TKO at 2:52 of round 1: Lightweight

Pearson leaped in with a strike and was dropped with a counter punch from Green. Pearson went on to recover and got back to throwing strikes. Then, Green shot in with a takedown, and unloaded a barrage of punches to face up against the fence. Unblocked blow after blow connected for Green, and Pearson was out of it. The referee had no choice but to step in and rescue Pearson. Wow!

Kevin Aguilar def. Enrique Barzola by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Featherweight

An accidental cup kick from Aguilar paused the action before it really got going. Once the bout resumed, Aguilar worked his hands, putting combinations together with in and out footwork. Barzola scored with some hard leg kicks, and was the one pressing forward, but it was Aguilar who landed the better strikes.

Aguilar shucked off the early takedown attempts from Barzola in the second round, and was able to land with his hands. Barzola started bleeding from his left eye and continued to struggle to get the fight to the ground. The punches of Aguilar continued to hit their mark as Barzola pressed forward.

Barzola opened the final frame with a massive left hook, but Aguilar wore it really well. Aguilar got back to sticking and moving, tagging his pressuring adversary and maintaining range. The forward pressure of Barzola held up, but Aguilar kept it moving. The featherweights engaged in an exciting exchange in the closing moments, with Barzola landing a flying knee and Aguilar connecting with a right hand.

Kevin Holland def. Gerald Meerschaert by split decision (30-27, 29-27, 28-29): Middleweight

Meerschaert realized a takedown within the first-thirty seconds. Holland worked hard for a guillotine from half-guard and ultimately took top position. Meerschaert attacked a guillotine of his own from the bottom, and then he took top position. Meerschaert cranked on the hold from full mount but Holland hung tough and escaped. The middleweights took turns at going for RNC’s, with Holland landing a couple of ground strikes before the round expired.

Meerschaert realized another takedown within the first thirty-seconds of the second round. Holland worked his way up, but ended up on his back again. Meerschaert locked down the top position for a solid chunk of time, and spent the bulk of the remaining round out-grappling Holland. In the final twenty seconds, Holland took top position and dropped labor strikes as the round closed out.

The grappling exchanges continued into the final round. Meerschaert threatened early with a guillotine, but Holland again pulled off an escape. As the round progressed, it was Meerschaert who began to win the scrambles, spending more time on top. Meerschaert continued to control the fight, dictating the pace and giving his opponent zero space.

ESPN+ prelims:

Casey Kenney def. Ray Borg by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): 137 pounds

Borg acquired an early body lock up against the cage, but Kenney reversed the position and realized a takedown. Kenney controlled the position and worked his way to the back, but Borg exploded back up to his feet. After pressing his opponent against the fence, Borg scored a short-lived slamming takedown.

The second round saw Borg go right back to the fence grind, hunting for a takedown. Again, Borg scored a high-amplitude takedown, but this time, Kenney was unable to explode right back up. The fight eventually returned to its feet, but it stayed up against the fence. Borg scored the same scooping takedown for the third time, and Kenney was able to find top position just as the round ended.

Borg started the final round by closing the distance and scoring yet another scooping takedown. Kenney worked his way back to his feet, but Borg took him back down before taking the back. Borg fell off and Kenney took the back himself. Borg escaped an RNC attempt and exploded right into another takedown. Kenney just couldn’t stop the takedowns. The bantamweights slugged it out in the pocket for the final ten-seconds, which was the most exciting striking exchange of the entire fight.

**It should be noted that Borg missed weight by 1.75 pounds

Maryna Moroz def. Sabina Mazo by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): (W) Flyweight

Moroz went for an immediate takedown to open up the bout, but Mazo was able to fend off the initial attempt. Moroz stayed with it, and eventually put Mazo on her back. Mazo did reasonably well tying up her opponent and waited for her moment to stand back up. Moroz landed a few straight punches before closing the distance and controlling her foe against the cage until the round ended.

Moroz worked her way back into the clinch earl on in the second act. Mazo again fought off the attempts and escaped back into open space. The flyweights went back forth on the feet, with Moroz winning the bulk of the exchanges. Moroz was able to stifle her opponent against the fence to close out the round.

Moroz pressed forward and right into the clinch to start the final frame, but Mazo escaped back into the center of the Octagon. Mazo looked to set up her head kick, and then switched to throwing her knees. Several hard knees to the body landed which slowed the forward pressure of Moroz. Mazo went back to the head kick, throwing it with volume, and getting closer to landing each time. Time ran out before the rallying Mazo could pull out a finish.

Alex Perez def. Mark De La Rosa by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Bantamweight

Perez came out looking to walk down De La Rosa with his boxing. Switching gears, Perez shot in for a takedown but settled for clinching up against the fence. After a bit of control, De La Rosa gave up the takedown, where he ate several quality hammerfists for quite a bit of time, not making it back to his feet.

It didn’t take very long for Perez to shoot in and find a wrestler’s ride. De La Rosa gained his full guard, but Perez was content to drop more nasty strikes from the position. De La Rosa started to control his opponent’s wrist, and then would land clean non-fight ending punches from his back until the time expired.

The third round saw De La Rosa throwing a lot more volume on the feet. Perez wasn’t really forcing the issue with the takedown, but when he finally did, De La Rosa gave it up with relative ease. Perez tried to explode with strikes in the final ten-seconds, but De La Rosa did a solid job of tying up his foe, preventing anything substantial from hitting its mark.